Random Chat: On ARC Quality

What makes a good blurb?

Step up, take a seat, make yourself at home and let’s chat!

If you follow my blog fairly often, you know I am a big fan of Netgalley. I am extremely grateful that so many publishers showed interest in my reviews and allowed me to read and write about their books.

That said, I have to ask…

What the heck is up with Netgalley ARCs these days???

The last half a dozen books I requested have come up without table of contents, no separation whatsoever between chapters, weird spacing between lines and paragraphs and now even random numbers in between and broken words:


So today’s random chat is:

I have to admit I find this sort of thing extremely distracting and have trouble focusing on the story.

I have even postponed reading books which look like this, prioritizing ones with proper formatting, where I can read the text easily and navigate the book quickly.

Are you having as much bad luck as I am? Any idea why the quality of ARCs has declined?

Have you had other experiences of the sort outside Netgalley?
I have had a few of these from authors as well, so it is not just Netgalley. It is just more noticeable there because the quality of their books used to be great.

Does it influence your enjoyment of the book?
Tell me everything!

22 thoughts on “Random Chat: On ARC Quality

    • I stuck to this book and am actually enjoying it for the most part, but I have a feeling I would enjoy it a lot more if it was properly formatted. Finding something is a pain. One of my favourite things about my Kindle is being able to searcg a word or phrase that was used and immediately jump there. I cannot do that here because the words are broken up. It is so frustrating… I like looking back and rereading stuff after knowing what happened, you know? Can’t do that here :(

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have experienced this as well! With the current ARC I’m reading, the title appears in random spaces throughout the book, no separation on the pages between chapters and an image that randomly pops up constantly throughout the book!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t come across that so far, but I wouldn’t read a book formatted that poorly. It’d just make me hate the book regardless of the content, so there’d be no point. I’d just submit a netgalley review saying that the ARC had formatting errors making it impossible to read, and move on. I can make ebooks from home better than that, so there’s just no excuse.


  3. What are you using to read the ebooks? I have had this occur once- on my laptop it looked jumbled with numbers, but when I opened it on my kindle, or even my kindle apps on iPhone and ipad it was fine. Have you tried opening the book on a different device?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s very kind of you, Diana. But alas, maybe it’s just my Kindle, I don’t know… It’s weird that I used to get good quality ARCs, even if some did not have table of contents, and now this with so many.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have experienced this just once while reading on my laptop (adobe reader) and when I opened it on my Kindle or even Kindle app (iPhone and iPad) it was fine. Have you tried opening it on a different device?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, I have not, I only read on my Kindle…

      I could read on my phone but the screen is too small and my computer is a desktop so yeah not the most comfortable thing.

      I love that I am able to take my Kindle everywhere and read with minimum eye strain.


  5. This has been my experience of the last three books I have read on Netgalley, from big publishing houses too. One was a children’s book and there were streams of gobbledygook where I presumed a picture would be, but the other two had random spacing, repeated text and all sorts of frustrations going on!. I try to grit my teeth and get on with it and not let dodgy ARCs affect my reviews, but as you say this is not easy! I don’t think it’s anything to do with your device.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, I have been in contact with Netgalley support and they say it all depends on the publisher and what file they send. It may be due to faulty conversions of pdf files. Thing is they can’t do anything about archived books.


  6. Hi Ana, I have never had a book that is as badly formatted as the one in your photo, that’s pretty bad! But I have now changed my review policy that I don’t accept pdf’s anymore as they are too uncomfortable to read, I will only accept mobi files or hard copies. I read off my kindle too, and the pdf’s don’t come out well.
    Great post for discussing, I read all your comments too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great idea!

      I wish I could tell the format of books on Netgalley before requesting them. As it is not possible, I wrote a safeguard on my intro, asking publishers to keep in mind that I do not read ACSM files. They are such a pain. I hate being forced to read a book within a pre-set time. It is rude and, let’s face it, all it does is force people to resort to piracy.

      So to be frank that is what bothers me the most, even more than bad formatting.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and adding your opinion, Amanda! Hope you have a great weekend :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is a special format that is supposed to protect author rights. I guess the goal is to sort of lend the book instead of giving it to the reviewer.
        Once you open the file, it converts to a pdf format but it will self-destruct within 30 days. So if you don’t finish it in 30 days or if you accidentally opened it or if you opened it and it totally slipped your mind – all of which has happened to me – then kaput.
        Very frustrating, if you ask me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah right, I haven’t had any of those before. I think if you’re intending on reviewing the book, you should at least be able to keep it and like you said not be forced to read it in the specified time.
        Sounds frustrating, I see why you changed what you will accept.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: September 2015 Wrap-Up | Ana's Lair

  8. I have gotten my fair share of bad ARCs. One I got through NetGalley was especially bad. On each page was more than one unfinished sentence, sometimes whole pages were missing. I didn’t understand a lot of the story because of that and how am I then able to state my opinion of the book if half of the book is missing?!

    I can ignore it if there is sometimes no space between words or some minor mistakes, but if there is more? And your picture… ugh. I couldn’t read a book like that.

    I hate ACSMs. I have read one book like that and I felt so stressed because of the time limit… Never again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay great to know someone relates to how I felt. I totally agree with you. It is impossible to judge the content if the way the story is presented makes it so hard to get to it.
      And yeah with ACSM just thinking one accidental click sets off the time bomb… Yeah no thanks. Pdfs don’t even show that well on my Kindle so shrug Keep them.

      Liked by 1 person

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